North Andhra mourns loss of theatre stalwart

Several literary figures of North Andhra on Tuesday recollected the contributions of Raavi Kondal Rao (February 1932 to July 2020) to the field of theatre.

Hailing from Srikakulam district, Mr. Rao rose to become a prolific playwright, theatre artiste, journalist, actor and director.

“Raavi Kondala Rao’s family lived at Panduranga Street in Srikakulam town. He studied at the municipal high school. He was a member of the Nataraja Kala Samithi of Srikakulam. His demise is a great loss to the theatre art that flourished in Srikakulam district,” said Ponnala Narasimha Rao, president of the Srikakulam Rangasthala Kalakarula Samakhya. Mr. Narasimha Rao recalled Mr. Kondal Rao’s visit to the town last year to attend a cultural programme.

Renowned balladeer Vangapandu Prasada Rao said his death left a big void in the field of theatre. “Raavi is the voice of the North Andhra dialect which he had promoted his entire life, both on- and off-screen. It is a great loss for the dialect, particularly the Srikakulam-Vizianagaram dialect of Telugu,” Mr. Prasada Rao told The Hindu.

“Raavi belongs to the tribe of ‘theatre art’ of North Andhra. I am always fond of his humorous interactions in Srikakulam dialect. He was an exemplary drama artiste, journalist and a music critic,” said P. Bobby Vardhan, professor of journalism and mass communication at Andhra University.

In the late 1940s, Mr. Rao was sent to Rajamahendravaram prison for a period of three months for taking part in a protest following a ban on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

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